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Testimony of Ruth Greenwood, Attorney, Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Before the Census

Data Advisory Commission August 29, 2013 Good morning, distinguished Committee members. Thank you for the opportunity to speak at this very important hearing. My name is Ruth Greenwood, and I am an attorney at the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc. is a non-partisan nonprofit organization that aims to promote and protect civil rights, particularly the rights of poor, minority, and disadvantaged people in order to facilitate their participation in the social, economic, and political systems of our nation. We work in Lake County, Indiana on a project called the Initiative for Northwest Indiana (INWIN). INWIN is a community economic development law project engaging community organizations, entrepreneurs, businesses, attorneys, and civic leaders for the greater good of the Northwest Indiana regional community. We also operate a Voting Rights Project that works to prevent, reduce, and eliminate barriers to voting for minority and low-income residents throughout the Midwest region. We partner with area law firms and nonprofit organizations to provide Election Protection during early voting and on Election Day. Election Protection volunteers answer voter questions and respond to issues reported to the 1-866-OUR-VOTE hotline. In addition, teams of attorneys volunteer as poll watchers to monitor elections across the region. For the 2012 general election we placed approximately 15 poll monitors in Lake County, fielded over 800 calls from Indiana on our election protection hotline, and worked in coalition with Black Youth Vote an initiative of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Indiana American Civil Liberties Union, Indiana League of Women Voters, and Indiana Common Cause to distribute thousands of Know Your Rights cards to voters across the state. We are very pleased that the Committee has chosen to investigate the important issue of voter suppression in Indiana. In this testimony I set out a summary of the findings of our election protection efforts with respect to voter suppression, and then discuss some of the legal and administrative policies that cause voter suppression and disenfranchisement in Indiana. Election Protection 2012: Findings I set out below a chart showing the breakdown of the types of problems that Indiana voters who contacted the Election Protection Hotline or interacted with our poll monitors experienced during early voting and on Election Day in 2012.i As you can see, what is traditionally considered voter suppression, what we call voter intimidation made up 13% of the problems. We believe that the photo ID law in Indiana also operates as a voter suppressive measure, and as you can see 7% of the problems identified to us concerned the photo ID law. Additionally, administrative problems (registration, absentee voting, poll worker, and polling place problems) also suppressed voters, and combined they constituted 61% of the issues identified. I outline below the

chart how each type of problem caused voter suppression and some specific examples of each of these problems.

Voting equipment problem 6%

Problems by State: IN

Student voting problem 4%

Voter intimidation problem 13%

Absentee voting problem 14%

Accessibility problem 1% Electioneering Problem 5%

ID problem 7% Registration problem 17% Poll worker problem 9% Polling place problem 21%

Language problem 0%

Provisional ballot concern 3%

Voter intimidation The types of problems that are coded as voter intimidation include misleading information from the television, radio, newspapers, phone calls, text messages, emails, and signs placed in the community, as well as activities at a polling place that discourage someone from voting, perhaps by indicating that they are not eligible to vote or that the date or time of voting is different to the actual information. Some examples from 2012 include: A voter was told by a friend that she received an email instructing voters that if they wanted to vote a straight Democratic ticket they would need to both select 10 (the straight ticket operation on the voting machine) and select Obama in the President category. She later found out that doing both would actually invalidated the ballot; A voter explained that she had heard on a talk show that there was a recent law passed in Indiana limiting the voting time at a polling place to only 3 minutes. The caller was worried that she would not be able to vote in this short time, though there was no such law passed in Indiana; and

A report of a robocall made by a group calling itself Vote USA that told voters that they could vote early over the phone to avoid long lines on Election Day. Indiana Secretary of State, Connie Lawson, thankfully took swift action to advise voters to under no circumstancesvote over the phone.ii

ID problems The type of ID problems reported demonstrate the way that the photo ID law causes voter suppression. The calls generally involved the voter having been told that their ID was not able to be used, when in fact it was on the approved list, or calls from voters who had tried to get approved photo ID but were unable to. Some examples are listed below: In Monticello, in White County, a voter was told she could not vote because her US passport was not acceptable ID;iii In Hobart, in Lake County, a voter explained that she attempted to obtain a photo ID for the voters mother from an Indiana DMV but the mother was denied an ID because her birth certificate and marriage certificate had slightly different names on them; and In Marion County, a voter explained that her brothers drivers license had recently been taken by a police officer during an arrest and so she was worried that he would not be able to vote.

There was another group of Indiana voters who had difficulties meeting the photo ID requirement in 2012: students. Many of the state universities in Indiana do not issue student IDs with an expiry date, and so students were unable to use their student IDs as approved photo ID to vote. With only 75% of 19 year olds nationally possessing drivers licenses,iv many of these state university students were unable to vote at the polls at all. Private university student IDs are not on the approved list of photo IDs, so no students attending those colleges and universities could use their student ID to vote at the polls. There are over 400,000 students in Indiana colleges and universities.v Registration problems Nationally problems with registration account for 5.5% of the reasons why people do not vote,vi but for African Americans and Latinos, this number increases to 6.7% and 6.1% respectively. Given the disparate impact of registration problems on minority voters, this issue is something that we are particularly concerned about. The registration problems identified through Election Protection were largely due to voters attempted registration not appearing in the online Indiana Statewide Registration database and/or on the pollbooks. In some cases when voters followed up about this with state officials they were told that sometimes the DMV does not give names to us after it registers voters when they process their drivers license. In Indiana, 33.3% of all voter registrations are processed at the DMV,vii meaning mal-administration at the DMV of such applications has the potential to affect (and possibly suppress the votes of) a large number of Indiana voters. Some examples of the voter registration problems identified during Election Protection include: In Vanderburgh County, a voter explained that she registered to vote in February 2012 when she received her new drivers license. However, her name did not appear 3

on the list at the polls and was told that sometimes in DMV does not give names to us; and In LaPorte County, a voter and her son knew that their names had been removed from the voting roll in 2009, so they re-registered in 2012 via mail. They never received voter registration cards and when they arrived at the polling place they were told their name was not on the list. They were not given provisional ballots.

Absentee voting problems One solution to the problem presented for those unable to obtain a photo ID so they can vote at a polling place during early voting or Election Day, is for them to vote by absentee ballot (if they fit into one of the categories of person who may request one).viii This has the potential to reduce the suppressive effect of the Indiana photo ID law, but if absentee ballot requests are left unanswered then voters are at risk being entirely disenfranchised. Some examples of how this occurred in Indiana in 2012 are set out below: In Vanderburgh County, a voter faxed in an absentee ballot application on October 22, 2012. The voter did not receive an absentee ballot application, and called the Indiana Board of Elections on October 30 to determine why she did not receive it. They told her that her address information was incorrect on her absentee ballot application, and that they were planning to send her notice that her ballot application was not accepted. Follow up by an Election Protection volunteer with the Board of Elections confirmed that they were supposed to send notices by mail to voters informing them of problems with their application and to resubmit their request. Officials told our Election Protection volunteer that because of capacity issues, many or all of those notices did not go out; and In Marion County, a voter did not receive her absentee ballot and when she contacted us the deadline for receipt of completed absentee ballots had passed. The voter was not in Indiana on Election Day and so was unable to vote in the 2012 Election.

Poll worker problems Precinct election officers (poll workers) represent the frontline between election administration and voters. While many are well trained, enthusiastic and capable, it only takes a few poll workers with incorrect information or practices to disenfranchise the hundreds of voters they come into contact with on Election Day. Some examples of poll worker problems identified to Election Protection were: In Marion County, a voters designated polling place was co-located with a number of other precincts at a single polling place. The poll worker at the outside of the polling place would not let voters enter the location if they did not know their precinct number; and In Marion County, a voter cast a paper ballot, but the ballot machine would not accept her ballot (and would not accept ballots of some other voters in the polling place). The voter saw the poll worker set these ballots aside and did not put them in the machine. The voter was not able to confirm whether her vote was counted or not. 4

Polling place problems These problems capture issues such as lack of resources (running out of ballots, machines breaking down without someone on hand to repair them), directions to an incorrect polling place by the state, and mismanagement of polling places, such as opening late or closing early. Each of these problems can result in many voters being unable to vote. The problems identified to Election Protection included: In Lake County, the Indiana Statewide Registration Database directed an entire precinct of voters to the wrong polling place. When those voters arrived at the suggested polling place, their names were not on the voter roll and they were given provisional ballots. It is unclear how many, if any, of those provisional ballot were counted; In Lake County, a voter's machine was not working, and only allowed her to vote for the presidential election. She said that there were not enough poll workers, they opened the polling place late, and that they did not know how to use the equipment. While she was at the machine she had told the poll worker she needed help, and the poll worker told her that they were going to help her, but were occupied assisting other voters. The voter could not wait for any longer and left without voting; and In Hammond, in Lake County, a voter arrived before 6:00 p.m. and the polling place was closed, contrary to Indiana state law that polling places must remain open until 6:00 p.m;ix and In Johnson County, a voter was told if they weren't inside the building, they couldn't vote, contrary to Indiana law.x

Voter suppression due to restrictive voting laws In addition to intentional efforts to suppress voting and indirect suppression from maladministration or misinformation, there are two laws in Indiana that operate to suppress voting. Each is discussed below. Photo ID Law Requiring a photo ID to be shown before a voter can vote at a polling place has been shown to reduce overall turnout by at least 2-3%.xi As evidenced in the data set out above, this is because some people are unable to obtain ID and so cannot vote, while others are misinformed about the requirement either prior to going to the polls (and so may stay home), or at the polls (and so may be given a provisional ballot that may not be counted), or they may be simply turned away without the opportunity to vote. While the intent of enacting the photo ID law may not have been to suppress voters, the effect of it is clear. Many other states, including the neighboring states of Illinoisxii and Ohio,xiii have a less strict identification requirements allowing non-photo IDs such as utility bills and bank statements to be used to prove identity at the polls and yet there were no allegations of voter impersonation fraud in 2012 in either state. On this matter Indiana has historically been no different, even the United States Supreme Court found, in Crawford v Marion County, that there was no evidence of voter impersonation fraud having ever taken place in the state.xiv The requirement that voters show a government issued photo ID before voting in Indiana 5

operates to suppress the vote and we would support a repeal of that law. Excuse only absentee voting While Indiana allows any person to utilize early voting, it allows only persons fitting a narrow category of reasons to vote by absentee ballot.xv Given that the photo ID law operates to prevent some eligible voters from being able to vote at their polling place due to not having the correct photo ID, having a restriction on the categories of person that can vote by absentee ballot becomes additionally suppressive. Introducing no-fault absentee voting was shown by a Pew study to increase turnout by approximately 3%, and though this effect does not vary across income or education groups, it does have a larger effect on older voters than on younger voters. xvi The Pew study also found that the overwhelming majority of voters that utilize no-excuse absentee voting are doing so as an alternative to other methods of voting,xvii and so its introduction has the potential to reduce lines on Election Day and with this, allow pollworkers the time they need to get the right information to voters. The average time a voter waited in line in Indiana was 13 minutes, the 13th longest average wait time of all the states (and the longest in the Midwest).xviii Though this has improved considerably from 2008 (where the average wait time was over 20 minutes), it still lags far behind other states. It is important to note that while the average wait time is 13 minutes, the longest wait times were many hours long.xix Professors Charles Stewart and Steven Ansolabehere estimate that nationally 500,000 to 700,000 votes are lost because of long lines, and the economic cost of long lines is approximately $500 million. As with other voter suppressing measures long lines are felt most acutely by minority voters, with African American voters likely to wait in line more than twice as long as white voters (23.3 versus 11.6 minutes, on average), and Latino voters also enduring almost double the average wait time (18.7 versus 11.6 minutes).xx One of the key recommendations that Stewart and Ansolabehere make to reduce long lines is to increase opportunities to vote by mail, thus reducing the total number of people using all forms of in-person voting.xxi Conclusion Indiana ranks 40th among the states in voter turnout, with a total turnout as a percent of eligible voters of only 56%, well below Minnesota (the state with the highest turnout) at 76.1%, and well below the Midwest average of 66.5%.xxii If Indiana were to remove its photo ID requirement, introduce no-excuse absentee voting, counteract the dissemination of mis-information by pollworkers, and encourage public assistance agencies and the DMV to offer voter registration to all customers and ensure those that agree to register are entered onto the voter roll, I feel confident that there would be less voter suppression in Indiana. I thank you very much for your time. I am more than happy to answer any of your questions.


The Indiana data was analyzed and coded by the national Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and they produced the pie-chart set out on page 2. ii Press release, IN.gov, Secretary of State Connie Lawson warns Hoosiers about over-the-phone voting scam, (Sept. 14, 2012). Available at http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=58959&informati on_id=118983&type=&syndicate=syndicate (last visited August 26, 2013). iii But see, I.C. 3-5-2-40.5: a photo ID issued by the U.S. government with the voters name and photo, and an expiry date is valid ID to vote. iv Posting of University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, Fewer young, but more elderly, have drivers licenses http://www.umtri.umich.edu/news.php?id=3006 ((December 1, 2011). v Stats IN, College Enrollment and Migration http://www.stats.indiana.edu/sip/edu/edu2_18.html (last visited August 28, 2013). vi United States Census Bureau, Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2012 Detailed Tables: Table 10 http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/socdemo/voting/publications/p20/2012/tables.html (last visited August 27, 2013). vii United States Election Assistance Commission, The Impact of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 on the Administration of Elections for Federal Office 2011-2012 A REPORT TO THE 113TH CONGRESS (June 30, 2013), 44. Available at: http://www.eac.gov/assets/1/Documents/EAC_NVRA%20Report_lowres.pdf (last visited August 27, 2013). viii I.C. 3-11-10-24. ix I.C. 3-11-8-8. x I.C. 3-11-8-11. xi Nicholas Stephanopoulos, Elections and Alignment, COLUMBIA L. REV. forthcoming. Available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2313941 (last visited August 27, 2013). xii 10 ILCS 5/1A-16. xiii Ohio Rev. Code 3505.18. xiv Crawford v. Marion Cty. Election Bd., 553 U.S. 181, 194 (2008). xv Supra note viii. xvi Jan E. Leighley and Jonathan Nagler, The Effects of Non-Precinct Voting Reforms on Turnout 1972-2008 PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS MAKING VOTING WORK (January 15, 2009), 2. Available at http://www.pewstates.org/uploadedFiles/PCS_Assets/2009/Leighley_Nagler%281%29.pdf (last visited August 28, 2013). xvii Id. xviii Charles Stewart and Stephen Ansolabehere, Waiting in Line to Vote White Paper: Executive Summary, Submission to the Presidential Commission on Election Administration (July 28, 2013), 7 . The list includes the District of Columbia but excludes Oregon and Washington as they are entirely vote-bymail states. Available at https://www.supportthevoter.gov/files/2013/06/Charles-Stewart-Waitingin-Line-to-Vote-White-Paper.pdf (last visited August 26, 2013). xix Id. at 6. xx Id. at 11. xxi Id. at 15. xxii The average was calculated including Indianas turnout. If Indianas turnout is excluded, the average Midwest turnout is 68.2% (MN: 76.1%; WI: 73.2%; IA: 70.2%; MI 65.3%; OH: 65.2%; IL: 59.3%). Sean Sullivan, The States with the highest and lowest turnout in 2012, in 2 charts THE WASHINGTON POST, March 12, 2013. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/thefix/wp/2013/03/12/the-states-with-the-highest-and-lowest-turnout-in-2012-in-2-charts/ (last visited August 26, 2013).
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